In my personal opinion, dads have it made. When they parent it's called "helping," they're best known for their bad jokes, and they're usually only called upon if someone needs to reach something on the highest shelf. Of course, not all fathers are aloof parenting partners, but our culture still fails to expect a reasonable amount from dads. So there are a lot of meanings when dad asks, “What do you want me to do?” and, rest assure, the majority are all about their infamous laziness perpetuated by a society that still views moms as the primary caregivers.
Take my husband, for example. There are currently about four clean glasses in my cupboard. Everything else, and I mean literally every single other dish, is dirty. Two weeks ago, I did a few loads of dishes (on top of the laundry, which I always do, and all my other random household tasks). I waited for my husband to finally do something about the pile of dishes, but here I am, two weeks later, eating a sandwich off a paper towel “plate.” And when I bring up the obvious mess in the kitchen, he responds with “What do you want me to do?” as though it were that difficult to figure out.
Now, of course my husband isn’t all bad (otherwise I would’ve ran for the hills a while ago), but he’s got this occasionally clueless dad schtick down pat. But just like any other "problem," the first step is admitting there is one. So if your parenting partner is slacking, yet constantly asking what to do, here are just a few things they really mean, so you can reply accordingly.